Page 163 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 49

Basic HTML Version

of a complex feuilleton or “pseudo-homily” in which Gordon
responded to Lilienblum.11
Dan Miron presented a dazzling — if not altogether convinc­
ing — analysis of the epic qualities in YaLaG’s long poems, such
“Ahavat David u-Michal,”
as an effort by Gordon to “compete”
against the encroachments of the developing novelistic writing
in Hebrew. Gordon’s ambitious writing of Hebrew fables12 is
viewed by Miron as a self-directed “exercise” to impose pithiness
on his poetic endeavors and thus emancipate himself from the
thrall of the Scripturally bound and romantically expansive Has­
kalah epic. YaLaG would thus enhance the viability of Hebrew
poetry in facing the alleged “challenge” of the new Hebrew
The third article in
Jerusalem Studies
is Ben-Ami Feingold’s
“Kotso shel Yod
—Anatomy of a Satire.”14 He dismisses many of
the literary faultfinders of this Jewish feminist classic by dem­
onstrating their ignorance of the dramatic and rhetorical re­
quirements of the satirical genre. At the same time, Feingold
brings a most extraordinary array of responses which may not
be fair from a strictly literary standpoint, but which are most
certainly and intentionally “provoked” by Gordon’s satire (an
evaluative paradox, Feingold notes, which is intrinsic to the
genre). YaLaG’s critics and defenders voiced such diverse opin­
ions with regard to questions of women’s legal and social status
impinging on Gordon’s epic, that Feingold’s article becomes a
treasure trove for further research on many aspects of the
problem within a Jewish societal context.
Equally valuable for its bibliographical scope and up-to-date
summary of the issues is Hillel Barzel’s chapter on Gordon’s
poetry following the Russian pogroms of 1881-1882 in his new
book on early Zionist poetry.1’ But by far the most significant
and profound contribution to the appreciation of Yehudah Leib
11. Stanislawski, op. cit., pp. 217-219.
12. Janine Strauss has written a detailed analysis o f the one hundred fables
Yehudah Leib Gordon, Poete hebreu (1930-1892): Son oeuvre defabuliste
13. Dan Miron, “Bein Taqdim le-Miqreh—Shirato ha-Epit shel Y.L. Gordon
u-Mekomah be-Sifrut ha-Haskalah ha-Ivrit,”
Mehkere Yerushalayim be-Sifrut
II (1983), pp. 127-198.
14. Ibid., pp. 73-103.
15. Hillel Barzel,
Shirat Hibbat Zion
(Tel-Aviv: Sifriyat Po’alim, 1987), pp. 39-65.